There is a perception that a 'spoiled' child is the loud misbehaving one at Macy's and the winy wild child at Aunt Edna's x-mas potluck .
I think it is REALLY related to what we (as a culture) expect of children.
The 'good' children always accept frantic shopping, skipping of meals and a stressed out Mommy with grace and calm.
Yes, some children do take these stresses well, but sometimes they don't, and to label them as 'spoiled' simply because they express themselves is simply unfair.
Yes, a child will wine and cry because mommy said no more cookies.
Does that make him 'spoiled' because he is
A. wanting another cookie
B. wining and crying
C. even mentioning it
Yes, a parent may encourage the wining by giving him the cookie, but even parents who never "give the cookie" have children that still want a cookie!
As a child get older it becomes more developmentally appropriate for a child to control his emotions and delay gratification. In a toddler or a preschooler it is ridiculous to expect a child to see a treat and resist it. (so move the treat out of eye sight!)
We have had some issues with holidays and that expectation for children to 'know how to act' at all times. It is rather upsetting to be scrutinized that way, I know, but it is more important to be there for your kids (be proactive) then to yell at Bobby because he ate all the candies in the dish (move the dish away!)
How you are handling holiday expectations for you children?